Making it an Adventure Article

It’s a Dirty Job and Dad Has to Do It










Research has found that you're destined to become your baby's primary playmate. Despite the obvious advantages moms enjoy in terms of baby appeal, two-thirds of six-month old babies choose dad when it comes to playtime. (The other one-third was just hungry.)

Why He Picks You for Playing
It starts right after birth when your bright little bundle notices that you look, smell, feel and sound different than mom. While mom is soft, warm, comforting, beautiful and smells good, you are, well, different.

Your baby won't know what to think of you right off, which is why she stares at you so much, just taking you in. As the weeks go by, a baby notices that while mom tends to be protective and calming, dad is more playful and physical, and sometimes very surprising.

Your baby soon learns that mom will pick him up when he is fussy, but dad tends to tickle him or lift him into the air. When even a very young baby hears her father's voice, she's likely to raise her shoulders and eyebrows, or begin kicking her legs, anticipating something exciting.

As the months go by, mom might ask dad to not get the baby worked up before bedtime, but all dad has to do is walk into her room and she's thinking, "play time!"

A mother's natural reaction might be to put out her hand to steady a set of blocks that are about to fall near the baby, while a father is likely to let them fall or even push them over, usually to squeals of delight.

Mom and Dad: Complementary Roles for Raising Babies
While they can come into conflict, a father's adventurous role complements that of a mother's, and the combination is what turns out well rounded children. Dads introduce new challenges to their babies and encourage them to explore their worlds.

Bottom line, playtime with dad contributes to your baby's physical, intellectual, and social development and leads to great qualities later in life: good relationships with peers, a knowledge of limits, a spirit of adventure.

Babies Grow By Playing
Never underestimate the power of play. For example, the skills a three-month old baby learns by playing a simple game of "peek-aboo!" includes, observation, language, coordination, communication, exploration, problem solving, socialization, rhythm, creativity and humor.

Other games work on things like dexterity, balance, trust, strength and timing. So remember when you are crawling on the floor, perhaps barking like a dog as you chase him around, it is a dirty job, and dad has to do it.

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